Q:

How Exactly Is A DUI Defined In Illinois?

A:

DUI in Illinois stands for Driving Under the Influence. In some other states, it is referred to as DWI or Driving While Intoxicated. Someone is guilty of Driving Under the Influence when their Blood Alcohol Level or BAC is over the legal limit of .08%. A person can also be guilty if they have any amount of drug substance, or compound in their breath, blood, other bodily fluid or urine as a result of either using or consuming, a controlled substance, an intoxicating compound, or methamphetamine. Driving or being in control of a vehicle while having a THC concentration level of 5 nanograms or more in whole blood or 10 nanograms or more in any other bodily substance also gives rise to a presumption that one is under the influence. The law prior to July 29, 2016 was that any amount of THC present in the body would cause someone to be in violation of the Illinois DUI laws.

Another section of the DUI statute says that someone is guilty of DUI if they are under the influence of alcohol, an intoxicating compound or compounds, or any other drug or combination of drugs that renders that person incapable of safely driving (under the influence). These are the codes listed as such, (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1)-(a)(7)).

Q:

Do Most People Arrested For DUI Have High Blood Alcohol Levels Or Are They Close To The Legal Limit Of .08%?

A:

The general public in Bloomington, Illinois does have the impression that people, who have been found to have violated the Illinois DUI statutes, are people who are usually intoxicated or are people who drink a lot. Nothing could be further from the truth. Experience dictates that anyone who drinks outside of their home is at risk of being found guilty of driving while intoxicated and that most DUI convictions are ordinary people. Ordinary people mean people like your co-workers, neighbors, or family members. Anyone can be found guilty of DUI. Actors, famous athletes, clergy, congregation members, police officers, people with money and people without. People from all walks of life like to drink and when people drink, often times, they drive when they likely should not

Q:

Is There A Typical DUI Client Seen? Is There Really A Typical DUI Arrestee?

A:

Statistics seem to show that most people convicted of drunk driving are in their twenties. ((See Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.

Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings

That being said, Attorney Terry Dodds has represented people of all demographics. That is because people of all demographics decide to drive when they likely should not.

Q:

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Being Arrested For DUI When They Speak With An Attorney About Their Case?

A:

A common misconception witnessed by a DUI Lawyer in Bloomington, Illinois is that a lot of people arrested for DUI in Illinois seem to think that the attorney can somehow get the prosecution to agree to let them plead to something other than a DUI or some lesser offense than the DUI. Nothing is further from the truth and if another attorney tells them differently, it is likely that the other attorney is lying to their face. The reason it is unlikely that the prosecutor is going to amend their DUI charge to a lesser offense is because there are two types of offenses that prosecutors statistically worship. These two offenses are DUI and domestic battery.

The reason prosecutors are much less amenable to amending these two types of offenses is because they have strong lobbying groups. State’s Attorneys are elected. Individuals belonging to DUI or domestic violence lobbying groups vote; and they tend to vote more so than other demographics. This means that not too many prosecutors are going to amend too many DUI’s or domestic violence cases and upset members of these two lobbying groups, it is just not going to happen. Amending too many DUI’s and domestic violence charges will also upset another lobbying group that tends to vote heavily. They are the law enforcement officers who arrest people for these two offenses.

Q:

How Public Is Someone’s Situation Going To Be? Will Their Work, Family Or Friends Find Out?

A:

Unless people read the newspapers, check the DUI arrests daily on the internet, or are running a background check on a particular individual, it is unlikely that people are going to find out that someone has been charged with DUI or convicted of DUI. Of course, the most likely way people are going to find out that someone has been charged with or convicted of DUI is by the defendant telling people about it. Just like anything else, the more someone says something to others, the more likely it is that people are going to find out; it is just human nature.

One of the sad facts about DUI’s is that that they are not presently expungable or sealable in Illinois. If a defendant receives supervision, it is technically not a conviction. Avoiding a conviction is important so that:

1) The defendant can later say that they have never been convicted of a crime.

2) Their license will only be suspended and not revoked.

3) They likely will not have to have SR-22 insurance, which is a much more expensive type of insurance than ordinary automobile insurance. It has to be reported to the secretary of state that they actually have insurance.

Q:

When Someone’s Arrested For DUI, Is Their Driver’s License Immediately Taken? Are Hardship, Occupational, Or Work Licenses Available?

A:

When someone is arrested for DUI in Illinois, their license will indeed be taken away. On the forty-sixth day is when the defendant’s suspension will begin.

As of January 1st 2016, any person who is a first time offender or who has previously been found guilty of DUI will not ever lose the ability to drive. However, in order to be able to drive, they will have to have what is called a breathalyzer equipped in their motor vehicle. Driving without the breathalyzer is actually a felony, so it is very important that the defendant not drive without that breathalyzer during the time of their suspension.

There are really no such things as hardship occupational or work licenses. There are certain hardship licenses that are available, but it is very rare that the defendant is going to qualify for this hardship license. The only instances where such a hardship license would be granted is if that person had a severe medical condition and they did not have other means available to get to their doctor’s appointments.

Q:

What Happens If Someone Refuses A Breath Or Blood Test In Illinois?

A:

If they refuse, a statutory summary suspension is going to be automatically entered on their license. That suspension will take effect on the forty-sixth day following the arrest. If there are no defenses to that statutory summary suspension, someone who refuses to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample will immediately receive a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. If they submit to the testing, their license will only be suspended for six months provided they are first time offender.

Q:

What Is An Interlock Ignition Device? Does Everyone Accused and/or Convicted Of A DUI Required To Have One?

A:

A Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID Device) is a statutorily required breathalyzer that must be installed on any vehicle being driven by someone suspended or revoked for the offense of driving while intoxicated (DUI). The BAIID device will not allow the engine of the vehicle to start until the driver submits a breath sample that does not have alcohol in it. Once a person’s license is suspended or revoked for DUI and they are caught driving without an interlock device, that person can be charged with a Class 4 Felony. Allowing someone else to provide a breath sample to start the vehicle is also a criminal offense.

The installation of the ignition interlock device is typically about $85 that is paid to the installer. There is also a monthly rental fee of approximately $80, which has to be paid to the vendor. There is also a monthly monitoring fee of $30 payable to the secretary of state office prior to the issuance of the MDDP or ignition interlock device. That $30 is paid upfront and is non-refundable. So it is kind of costly. If someone is in a lower income rack, they may have difficulty being able to afford to drive while they are suspended or revoked for DUI.

Q:

What Should Someone Do If They Just Want to Give Up And Plead Guilty To Get Over With It Quickly?

A:

The biggest issue with someone pleading guilty and giving up is that they are going to get a conviction. Without having a DUI lawyer, it is possible that the prosecution is going to try to convince them to merely plead guilty. The accused does not want to do this for many reasons. First of all, having a conviction for a DUI results in a revocation of one’s driver’s license versus a supervision which is considered a non-conviction. A conviction is going to result in a revocation of the driver’s license, which makes it much more difficult to get back after the period of revocation.

Another reason they want to avoid that conviction is because they are going to be required to carry SR-22 insurance. Therefore, it is never a good idea to simply decide to plead guilty. A good Illinois DUI defense attorney may be able to get the individual out of the situation, avoid that conviction and even possibly avoid having to plead guilty. Sometimes, the police officers do something wrong and hiring a lawyer who has been trained to spot those mistakes, makes it possible for the person charged with DUI to convince the prosecution they should dismiss the case or get a not guilty verdict at trial.

Q:

What Is The Benefit Of Going With A DUI Defense Attorney Vs. Self Defense?

A:

Hiring an attorney is going to cause the individual to feel more confident in the fact that they did everything they could to avoid the conviction or having to plead guilty to a DUI.

Attorney Terry Dodds explains that as a DUI Lawyer in Bloomington, Illinois, the biggest pitfall he sees for people who want to represent themselves when charged with driving under the influence is the failure to understand the procedures involved in getting their license back. A good DUI lawyer will explain these procedures to their client. A good Illinois DUI attorney will also ensure that there is no way to beat the case.

One of the differences between Attorney Terry Dodds and some of the other DUI attorneys in Bloomington and Central Illinois is that he watches all of his clients’ DUI videos himself. So, if there is the possibility of beating the charge, there is a better chance that he will find it. Someone reading this should not be fooled though. DUI charges are hard to beat in most instances.

Q:

Does The Court Show Mercy Towards Offenders Or Are The Courts Generally Unsympathetic? What If The Person Has A Clean Record?

A:

Whether or not someone charged with a DUI is a good person, has a family and has never been in trouble before are all factors related to sentencing more than anything else. These factors are also relevant in negotiations with the assistant state’s attorney handling the case, but this is usually only true in instances where the defendant is facing jail time as a result of their DUI. More times than not, someone will only be looking at jail time if there is an accident, the defendant has a criminal background or the defendant has had multiple DUI’s.

Q:

What Percentage Of Cases Are Seen Due To Illegal Prescription Drugs vs. Alcohol? Is A Drug DUI Harder Or More Complicated To Defend?

A:

It is uncertain if data exists identifying the percentage of DUI arrests made in Illinois that are drug related, but generally, driving under the influence of alcohol is much more common than DUI drugs. That is what is seen by Terry Dodds as a DUI attorney in Bloomington, Illinois over the years. People arrested for driving under the influence after taking prescription medication is the least common.

DUI cases involving cannabis or controlled substances are interesting. The best advice that can be given to someone if they are pulled over after smoking cannabis or after using any form of controlled substance, is to invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This means not to say anything and refuse to provide a blood or urine sample. The reason for this is that the State must prove that the THC levels in defendant’s body exceeded the statutorily prescribed limits or that a controlled substance was present in the defendant’s blood or urine at the time they were stopped.

Attorney Terry Dodds once had an interesting case that he blogged about a few years ago that holds that the State must prove the presence of cannabis or the controlled substance at the time of the traffic stop. The case is State of Illinois vs. McPeak. In McPeak, the Second District of the Illinois Appellate Court held that “the State provided no evidence that cannabis remained in McPeak’s breath, blood, or urine while he was driving.”

Q:

How Often Can A DUI Attorney Have Charges, Fines, Jail Time, Or Other Punishments Reduced?

A:

Typically, a good outcome in a DUI is ensuring that the Defendant receives a sentence of supervision for their DUI. It is important to remember that a sentence of supervision is not a conviction. Moreover, a conviction for a DUI results in a revocation of one’s driver’s license, not just a suspension. It is much more difficult for a person to get their license back after a revocation than it is a suspension. A conviction is also likely to raise the defendant’s insurance premium and may trigger the necessity of carrying SR-22 insurance. There are occasions when it is possible to beat a DUI case, but doing so is often very difficult. The reason why it often proves difficult to beat a DUI case is because police officers have been very well trained in how to secure convictions in DUI cases. As a DUI attorney in Bloomington, Illinois, Attorney Terry Dodds will find out every possible way to get someone out of a DUI.

Q:

Are There Alternative Punishments Or Diversion Programs Available For First Time DUI Offenders Such As Home Detention, Community Service and Ignition Interlocks?

A:

In Bloomington, Illinois, some of the alternative sentencing options available for people who have been found guilty of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are not available. No County in the State of Illinois is offering any type of diversion program for DUI offenders; there is just too much for a prosecutor to risk to allow DUI offenders a diversion. Other counties such as Champaign County allow jail sentences to be served through electronic monitoring or an ankle bracelet. Community service is a mandatory part of some sentences for driving under the influence. In fact, it is required for people who blow above a 0.16% or are repeat offenders. Other times, a prosecutor may simply want the offender to do some community service hours as part of an agreed plea. The reasons a prosecutor may want the defendant to do community service work varies.

Anyone who has been found guilty of violating the Illinois DUI statute and also had a BAC above a 0.16% is going to be required to complete one hundred hours of community service work. A second DUI with a blow above a 0.16% will trigger two days of mandatory jail time. A second DUI will also cause the offender to either have to spend five days in jail or have to complete two hundred and forty hours of community service work. If you are convicted of committing a 2nd DUI and you have a BAC above a 0.16%, you are going to do some jail time no matter what, as there is no way to avoid it. The penalties continue to increase if someone is found guilty of violating the Illinois DUI statute three or more times. A third time will also be upgraded to aggravated DUI and is a Class 4 felony. The penalties are also much stiffer for those who may be operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated when their license is also suspended or revoked.